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Virginia school districts continue to impose mask mandate, suspend students for refusing to wear masks

Youngkin’s order made masks in schools optional starting on Jan. 24th, however a number of public school districts in the region have refused to follow the order, claiming it violates state law.

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The Loudoun County Public School system says it will suspend any students who show up to school without a mask. It is just one of several Virginia districts that continue to impose mask mandates. The move comes despite newly elected Gov. Younkin’s executive order prohibiting schools from imposing mask mandates on students.

Youngkin’s order made masks in schools optional starting on Jan. 24th, however a number of public school districts in the region have refused to follow the order, claiming it violates state law.

The LCPS system did not send out a county-wide notice but did confirm to parents that students have been notified individually of potential punishment if they attend school without a face covering this week, starting Wednesday.

Abbie Platt, a parent who spoke to local news outlet FOX5DC, says she has three kids in the LCPS system and showed the letter her family received from Blue Ridge Middle School in Purcellville, Virginia last Friday.

One of Platt’s children suffers from chronic asthma and struggles to breathe when forced to wear a mask.

It reads: "Beginning on Wednesday, February 2, 2022, students who willfully continue to refuse to follow COVID mitigation measures as required by Loudoun County Public Schools will be suspended from school in relation to Violation of School Board Policy 8210, Introduction to Student Discipline, Section F.2. Willful or continued disobedience of school rules and regulation of school personnel; 3. Defiance of the authority of any teacher, principal or other person having authority on the school board."

"A student who is suspended because of non-compliance with COVID-mitigation measures may return to school only when they agree to follow COVID-mitigation measures throughout the entire school day and at all indoor school-related events …" the letter added.

Speaking to the news outlet, Platt said she will continue to support her child’s decision to refuse to wear a mask at school.

"Each parent should get to make the decision that makes the most sense for their individual family," she stated. "We were so thrilled when the governor made that announcement, that's because our little guy has chronic asthma, and he’s been on a nebulizer for two years. When you have something trapped on your face, and you are not able to breathe properly, it creates a serious health problem."

Carrie Lukas, a parent from Fairfax County Schools, said that her child was suspended from school last Tuesday for refusing to wear a mask. She told the outlet that she will continue to speak out on the matter at school board meetings.

"They really seem to take the compliance of most families as support for the masking rules when in fact, when you have high schoolers and older kids, they’re dangling suspensions at them, this is something that can impact their permanent record," Lukas said.

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